I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts on this for so long and can’t believe I’ve not blogged about it already. If you have sensitive skin, no doubt you’ll be familiar with getting a rash and irritation from certain clothes!
Not all fabrics are made equal and there are some definite materials to avoid, but also some great sensitive skin alternatives.
What fabrics should I avoid with eczema skin?
Some of this is probably self-explanatory but I hope some of these give you pause for thought.
- Wool – against the skin can be very irritating. 100% cotton and bamboo tights can be great in winter and just as warm as woolen ones.
- Nylon – can make skin hot and irritated. Avoid if you can.
- Latex – Can cause allergies and is a common allergen, also can cause overheating and won’t let skin breathe.
- Tight clothes – anything restrictive and tight, especially around the folds and creases in the skin can cause the skin to get hot and irritated.
- Nickel – Anything with studs, zips and metal that would touch the skin may cause irritation, especially if you have a nickel allergy.
- Dye in clothes – some clothing dies can be very allergenic, particularly darker dyes. It can take a few washes to get out the dye – you know those trousers that stain your legs blue when you get wet? If you find this irritates your skin it could be worth avoiding dark dyes in clothes.
- New clothes – can contain formaldehyde and other chemicals to stop clothes getting mildew in transit and also to keep them smooth and avoid creasing. You know that new clothes smell? I hate it. Always wash new clothes before wearing if you’re sensitive.
- Synthetic materials – manmade fibres can be more irritating due to the process used to make them, chemicals and solvents and also they can be less breathable and feel rougher against sensitive skin.
10 things you can do to find clothing that won’t irritate your skin
I’ve learnt so much about what feels good on my eczema skin over the years, so here goes!
- Tencel – The ultimate material for those with sensitive skin. It’s cooling to the touch, feels so soft on the skin and keeps the body temperature regulated well. Check out Clover for their range of long sleeve tshirts in Tencel material.
- Organic cotton – One of the softest materials you can wear but isn’t so good for the environment, using a lot of water in its manufacture. If you buy cotton you could buy from secondhand shops and then it’s not quite so bad for the planet.
- Silk – Well known for its gentle soft feel on the skin, silk is a good choice, for pillowcases, bedding and clothes, however the process of making silk is quite shocking – silk worms are killed to make silk. When they make their cocoon, they are then boiled alive to get the silk from it. Still want to wear silk? I found this out while researching which fabrics were the most environmentally friendly and it really shocked me. No judgement though, if you find silk works for you it’s a good option for sensitive skin; buying second hand is a good work around as it can also be expensive to buy new.
- Merino Wool – I find this to be really nice against my skin, and it means you can layer up and create warmth without needing wool. I can wear lambs wool if I put it over an under layer and no wool touches my skin at all. Merino wool though is a win win for me, soft, fits well and great or layering.
- Bamboo – Another very versatile plant based material that is great for sensitive skin. It’s much better for the environment than cotton and silk too so worth looking at. I find a lot of socks irritate my feet but bamboo socks are perfect. Cotton socks are often not 100% cotton so always check what they’re mixed with. You can also buy clothes made from bamboo. Check out Positive Outlook, a local, ethical shop based in Leamington Spa what also has a brilliant online shop.
- Buy second hand – This way you’ll avoid the formaldehyde, although some charity shops do spray clothes with scented perfume, to freshen them up. Look for organic cotton, silk or tencel – check clothing labels and dry stuff on before buying to avoid mistakes. Always wash before wearing when you buy clothes second hand.
- Wash them – I’ve mentioned this above, but always wash new and second-hand clothes before wearing to get rid of any potential irritants like chemicals, dust, allergens and perfumes.
- Google eczema clothing – There are number of brands now, including my favourites Cotton Comfort and Allergy Best Buys. For a full list see below…
Check out these brands for brilliant eczema clothing
Firstly the National Eczema Society have a handout with lots of stockists for eczema clothing. Visit their website to download Clothing and Eczema Factsheet.
I’ve pulled together a collection of brands I trust, some I have tested and tried out and also some overseas companies and products for children and babies.
- Cotton Comforts – for a brilliant range of cotton clothes made specially for people with sensitive skin
- Thought – I have a few items from this sustainable brand and they’re great for my skin.
- Allergy Best Buys – for silk and cotton gloves, night wear and more. They sell amazing Dermasilk arm and limb covers which really help covering and protecting a skin flare.
- Clover – long sleeved tshirts, scarf, gloves etc. – Designed for sensitive skin – loved by all skin types.
- Dermacura – Eczema clothing – They do a range of kids clothing.
- The Eczema Clothing Company – US based and sells tencel and zinc clothing.
- Skinakin – Clothing to help reduce the damage done by itching.
- Soothems – Eczema clothing brand based in the US that is great for dry and wet wrapping.
- Everything for Eczema – Clothing to help prevent the itch and stop the scratch
- Skinnies – Therapeutic clothing or sensitive skin
- Happy Skin – Eczema clothing for babies and children – aims to reduce the pain and discomfort in 7 days.
- The Eczema Company – Bamboo clothing. US based, sells clothing for babies and also latex free panties for women.
- Cottonique – organic cotton bras for sensitive skin, available from Cotton Comforts above and in America.
- Greenfibres – Organic cotton bedding, mattresses, linen, clothing and more
- Bamboo Clothing – for activewear and sports clothing e.g yoga made from bamboo
Check out my recent blog, Choosing the right bra for sensitive skin for even more inspiration and my product testing of some non wired Julie May Lingerie bra.
Do your clothes irritate your skin?
I’d love to hear what clothes you’ve ditched because they irritated you too much. And what are your favourite clothes to wear? That feel so soft and smooth against your skin? Tell me, tell me! I’m always looking for recommendations.